Sodium Is something that your body needs to function every day. However, it only needs a minimal amount. The sodium in your body helps you maintain the right amount of fluids in your body, helps your muscles expand and contract, and it also helps transmit nerve impulses. Your kidneys help balance the amount of sodium in your body. However, if there is too much if it your kidneys will start to store it. Once sodium levels get to high, your kidneys will release it causing it to exit your body through your urine. If for some reason your kidneys cannot get rid of all the sodium, your body will start to store it in your blood. Sodium attracts and holds water, making your blood volume increase. Increased blood volume makes your heart work harder to move more blood through your blood vessels. This increases pressure in your arteries. Such diseases as congestive heart failure and chronic kidney disease make it hard for your kidneys to keep sodium levels balanced (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sodium/NU00284). YIKES!! Did we scare you yet?? Here are some ways to cut down on sodium in your diet.
You cannot cut sodium out of your diet all together. As stated above you do need sodium in order for your body to function correctly. Your body needs less than 2,300 mg a day or 1,500 mg if you're age 51 or older. Did you know, on average Americans consume…….. 3,400 mg of sodium a day!!! This occurs due to the salt already called for in recipes, and diners add additional salt. One way to help cut out salt is to skip the salt in your recipes. You can also use herbs and spices in place of salt. If you have having company over, let them know ahead of time that there is no salt in the dish so if they would like to add it, they can.
Another way to skip out on the salt is to make smarter choices. Instead of going to McDonalds and ordering that egg McMuffin which has 820 Mg of sodium, choose to make yourself some scrambled eggs. This is a much healthier option, with only 180 mg of sodium. Another helpful way to cut down on sodium is to cook your own food. This helps you decide what you want to put in your food. When trying to lose weight everyone turns to salads. You must be very careful not to sabotage yourself. The salad dressing you put on your salad may be adding more than 400 mg of sodium! Make a healthier choice and use your own oil and vinegar dressing and make sure you measure it out.
If you do happen to slip up and are feeling the effects of too much sodium, fear not! We all have little mishaps, so begin by relaxing. To counter act the overdose of salt, try adding some potassium to your diet. Bananas, raisins, prunes, and orange juice are just a few nutrient-dense, potassium packing foods that will help to right the wrong in your body.